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Use this forum to suggest Good Words for Professor Beard.


Postby Bailey » Thu May 08, 2008 10:13 am

clip·per (klpr)
1. One that cuts, shears, or clips.
2. An instrument or tool for cutting, clipping, or shearing. Often used in the plural: nail clippers.
3. Nautical A sharp-bowed sailing vessel of the mid-19th century, having tall masts and sharp lines and built for great speed.
4. One that moves very fast.
5. Electronics See limiter.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2003. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.


There was a huge need for speed to bring spices fresh to market, the fastest ships commanded the highest shipping rates. Clip is a word meaning fast, quick. The clipper ships had special rigging and a sleek design to race across the trade routes bringing goods to market, and you thought MacDonald's invented fast foods?

The clipper ship "Rainbow" [launched in 1843] 159' long 52 ' wide could go from New York to China back in 102 days, earning $45,000.00 for her owners more than it cost to build it.

information from The History Channel

mark chimps-are-built-for-comfort-not-speed Bailey

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Postby Slava » Sat Apr 30, 2011 10:13 pm

This is a great word, if we clip off the last three letters. The four letter word clip has so many meanings it would be a bonanza to see it treated here. Some of them I'd forgotten, others I'm not so sure I ever knew them.

I don't believe I've ever seen it as a verb meaning to move rapidly. To move at a fast clip, yes, but not to clip along the highway.

We have our basic clip, too, as in cutting coupons and hair and the like. But where do we get paper clip? It's attaching something, not cutting it. Magazine clip is another odd-ball.
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Postby MTC » Sun May 01, 2011 10:21 am

During one of the more inglorious chapters of English History, the East India Company manufactured opium and transported it to China by "Opium Clippers," one of which was aptly named the "Water Witch." This episode does not play quite as well as the Royal Wedding.
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Re: clipper

Postby call_copse » Fri Jan 31, 2014 7:34 am

@MTC Any country will show a darker side given a little time I think it is fair to say :)

Anyhow I'm just bumping this one up because I thought it a great suggestion and could not recall a treatment.

We have the following:
1. a person or tool that clips or cuts
2. a swift sailing vessel
3. a person or thing that moves along swiftly
4. a limiter (maybe a specialist sort of usage but common enough)

1 and 4 are obviously related but the speed thing is almost diametrically opposed. Any light to be shed on that?
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Re: clipper

Postby Slava » Fri Jan 31, 2014 6:58 pm

"Limiter?" Is this the electronics meaning, or is it a Brit thing?

Also, isn't there a slang use of clip meaning to take someone to the cleaners?
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Re: clipper

Postby Perry Lassiter » Sat Feb 01, 2014 8:59 pm

I have heard or read clipped used in the sense of a petty theft. A thief may have clipped a 20 from the guys wallet left on the counter. For some reason I associated clip as a verb of speed with either a horse or a boat. Perhaps a horse comes from the rhythm of clip clop. In both cases one could say "he was sailing along at a fast clip on his horse (boat). In either case he was clipping right along.
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